People Dem Collective joins forces with Creative Estuary to explore Black, Brown and Diaspora experiences in the arts


27 April 2022

People Dem Collective – a community organisation based in Margate – will be connecting with audiences, artists, curators, and creative spaces through 2022 to explore the Black, Brown and Diaspora experience within arts commissioning and programming.

The project is a Creative Estuary Co-commission – the initiative which aims to showcase 60 miles of the North Kent and South Essex region as one of the UK’s most dynamic and creative areas in the whole of the UK.

People Dem Collective will be collecting data across the Creative Estuary area to try and establish how creative spaces and curators have responded to the anti-racism movement since 2020 and the call for better representation within the arts. The key questions they are looking to answer are: Has there been an impact or change within the art and cultural landscape? How do we ensure artists are elevated and not exploited in times of political crisis? What’s the legacy?

People will be able to connect with the conversation in a wide range of ways – through podcasts, panels, live case studies and events. There will be invitations to explore and reimagine what a new creative ecosystem might look like and how a best practice for commissioning and programming can be developed for real everlasting change and impact.
The first initiative to get underway through April will be a mapping of the access and experiences of people in the creative landscape throughout the Estuary. This will be done via three surveys for creative spaces, creatives and audiences. Through these surveys it is hoped they will be able to create a current and compelling picture of the present landscape and a snapshot of the engagement with local communities.
This will be followed by three panel discussions taking place from June onwards

  • Programming with Black and Brown Led Community Organisations – Olby’s Soul Cafe
  • Black and Brown Queer Programming – Venue TBC
  • Future of Seaside Towns – Venue TBC

A podcast series will run from April to September on Margate Radio. Episodes will include

  • Artist Conversation – Geoffrey Chambers x Zena Edwards
  • Alternative Education – Open School East x TOMA
  • Cultural Exchange – Black Cultural Archives x People Dem Collective
  • Larry Achiampong x James Johnson
  • Audiences Experience Soundscape

A series of Eco Walks curated by the transdisciplinary artist Christina Peake, will take place between May and July.

  • May – The Isle of Sheppey Nature Reserve. This walk will explore the biodiversity we can encounter within the Estuary and the wider climate and biodiversity challenges that are facing the UK.
  • June – Tilbury Port to Gravesend – Windrush to Gravesend. An opportunity to reflect on the Windrush generation and the experience of emigrating and settling in the UK.
  • July – Faversham view into the Estuary. This final eco-walk will lead to a unique collaboration between artists Jason De Caires Taylor and Christina Peake who intend to produce a piece of work inclusive of the participants based on the local area.

The whole project will conclude in September where the findings of all the initiatives will be presented and discussed at a major conference.

Victoria Barrow-Williams, Co-Director People Dem Collective said “We can’t wait to explore the depths of the Creative Estuary and excavate the contributions that Black, Brown and Diaspora communities make in these areas. We hope the scope of our programmes, and the dialogue our surveys create will resonate with the creative communities who call the Estuary home” People Dem Collective

Emma Wilcox, Creative Estuary Project Director says, “This is a really exciting opportunity to explore and reimagine the estuary’s creative community and work together to develop best practice for commissioning and programming for creatives from the Black, Brown and Diaspora communities for lasting change and impact. We are delighted to be supporting it and look forward to rich conversations and ambitious activity.”

People Dem Collective is a registered CIC and community organisation based in Margate, Kent. Founded by members of the Black, Brown and *Diaspora communities. (*People of cultural heritage other than the place they were born.) The collective was born out of a lived experience of lack of space, engagement and inclusion for these communities and a desire to encourage healing and transformation. People Dem is a Patois term colloquially meaning ‘them’. They facilitate systemic change, promote healing and continue the work of our ancestors by elevating the presence, work and visibility of people from Black, Brown and Diaspora communities. We focus on their inclusion, engagement and raising aspirations. They are mobilising a shift in the fundamental structures within our community, to ensure our sectors, leaders and decision-makers reflect the communities that live here. Their plan includes the development of a National Cultural Centre based in Margate. More at

Creative Estuary Co-Commissions supports a wide range of cultural projects with new commissions for Estuary-based producers and artists, from activity for emerging cultural activists to large scale commissions with a diverse mix of partners. The Co-commissions raise widespread awareness of existing creative talent across the region and support creative practitioners and organisations to make and present new work. We are committed to engaging our local communities to contribute to their creative identity and will give artists, organisations and creative practitioners opportunities and support to help them realise their creative ambitions. The Co-commissions create opportunities for creative innovation and new cultural production – we want to capture imagination and provide opportunities for greater collaboration and knowledge sharing. For more information visit

Creative Estuary has a vision to forge a new future founded on creative energy and innovation, along the length of the Thames Estuary. The project is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and led by the University of Kent on behalf of a consortium of public sector and cultural organisations. They include the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), Kent and Essex County Councils, the Greater London Authority, 11 local authority areas represented by Greater North Kent and Opportunity South Essex, South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN), University of Essex, Locate in Kent and cultural organisations Metal and Cement Fields. In early 2019 the University of Kent was awarded £4.3m from the DCMS Cultural Development Fund on behalf of the partners. DCMS Sport funds the Cultural Development Fund which is administered by Arts Council England.

Tracy Jones, Brera PR – / 01702 216658 / 07818 061503 /